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OCT/NOV 2021


Emily Taylor, Dollar General’s CMO, joins eight other winners across the industry

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To add the strength of steel to your brand, visit today. SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING FOR SUSTAINABLE COFFEE

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At Seneca, we're still doing things the way we always have - the right way. Think globally, grow locally.


of our produce is grown by AMERICAN FARMERS

Please visit to learn more about our company, people and products.

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10/27/21 9:22 PM



Top Women in Store Brands Meet the 2021 class of leaders making a huge impact across private brands


14 Heard at the Forum

Quotes from the Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages

32 Influencer

Marketing Report: Store brands get in on the social action

35 Plant-Based Report:

Meat and dairy alternatives are booming in private label


Editor’s Note


Industry News




Store Brands in the Wild

Store Brands (ISSN-0190-9851; USPS # 0488-370) is published monthly, except January, May, July, December by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscriptions: One year, $100; two years, $182. One year, Canada $118; two years, $215 One year, foreign $135; two years, $225. One year, digital $70; two year, $130.Single copies $14 US, Canada & foreign $16. Payable in advance with a bank draft drawn on a US bank in US funds.Single copies $20. Foreign, $85. Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at or (877) 652-5295. Canada Post: Canada returns to be sent to IDS, P.O. Box 456, Niagara Falls, ON, L2E6V2. Periodicals postage rates paid at Chicago, IL and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA. POSTMASTER: send all address changes to Store Brands PO Box 3200 Northbrook, IL 60065-3200. Copyright 2020 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce in whole or in part. All letters to the editors of this magazine will be treated as having been submitted for publication. The magazine reserves the right to edit and abridge them. The publication is available in microform from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI, 48106. The contents of this publication can not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for claims and representations. 4

Store Brands

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October/November 2021

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During the recent supply chains upheavals, we ran our plants at full capacity to honor our commitments and to make sure our customers’ shelves were stocked. That’s why we are one of the fastest-growing private label paper manufacturers in the country – we deliver exactly what you need, at the best price, when and where you need it. And we’ll put that on paper.

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An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Publisher, Grocery Group John Schrei (248) 613-8672; EDITORIAL Editorial Director, Grocery Group Mike Troy (813) 857-6512; Executive Editor Dan Ochwat (773) 992-4416, Associate Editor Zachary Russell (313) 622-1565, ADVERTISING & SALES National Sales Manager Natalie Filtser (917) 690-3245,

I wanted to lead this column with an inspirational quote about discovery; ironically, I couldn’t find one. But the point I do want to make — as we inch closer to 2022 — is that now is a great time to close out the year with an eye on discovery, seeking new products, and finding ideas, services and inspirations to carry you into the new year. Undoubtedly, since the pandemic began nearly two years ago, it’s put a strain on how retailers find new suppliers and communicate with them. In your offices and through many organizations, the virtual world has stepped in to fill a void where the in-person has been locked down, and Store Brands has offered some assistance through its newly launched series of Industry Forums. You can read about some highlights from our September forum on beverages on pages 14 and 15 of this issue. However, Store Brands also wants to do more and has two opportunities on the horizon. One, in print, the magazine wants to publish a “Products Showcase” in the December issue of the magazine. Suppliers that want to highlight their best-selling, newest or most innovative products in front of our retailer readers are encouraged to submit online at All that’s required is a photo of the product and answering a little information on what makes that product stand out. The goal is to help build that December issue into something of a product guide of sorts, and it will be available at the Private Label Trade Show that aims to return in person Jan. 30. The deadline to submit is Nov. 22. But beyond print, Store Brands has officially designated Dec. 14, 2021 — Discovery Day. Well, it’s a fun way of saying we’re hosting a virtual event that includes two exciting, insights-driven educational sessions and a cream filling of virtual supplier pitches in between. All held in our virtual theater, suppliers, packaging companies, solutions providers and any company with an innovation that can help retailers build their private brand programs are encouraged to sponsor and present. The virtual pitches consist of a pre-recorded, three-minute video that runs on stage in our virtual theater, followed by a live Q&A that retailers in the audience can ask follow ups if wanted. Ahead of the event, attendees also receive a description on the products or services being pitched. For more information, contact Natalie Filtser at nfiltser@

PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President, Production Derek Estey (877) 687-7321 x 1004, Creative Director Colette Magliaro Advertising/Production Manager Pat Wisser (973) 607-1322,

LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti (914) 309-3378,


REPRINTS, PERMISSIONS AND LICENSING Please contact Wright’s Media at or (877)652-5295

CORPORATE OFFICERS Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer Jane Volland Chief Innovation Officer & Managing Director of Path to Purchase Institute Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several Senior Vice President, Content Joe Territo

The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.


Store Brands

October/Novermber 2021

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Part of a Balanced Business

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EXTENDED SHELF LIFE • Reduces shrink & out of stocks • Increases assortment & sales


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10/27/21 9:23 PM

FMI Analyzes Own Brands Online •

39% said they promoted private brands through email promotions and digital circulars; • 33% leveraged search engine optimization; • 33% put a priority on promoting store brands via online brand pages and storefronts. Per Baker, the study also found that national brands continue to engage consumers in ways private brands have yet to fully utilize. He highlighted 10 areas where private brands “fall short of manufacturer brands in digital real estate,” such as on the homepage, where only 20% of food retailers that were analyzed promoted private brands. Additionally, just over 4 in 10 food retailers included multiple product images on private brand product detail pages, and about half of food retailers included banner ads on product listing pages and search pages — but only 20% of the banner ads promoted private brands.



A recurring theme throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been the acceleration of online grocery shopping, but just how well have private brands fared? According to the retailers and manufacturers surveyed by FMI - The Food Industry Association, for its latest Power of Private Brands report released in advance to Store Brands, 67% of the private label assortment was made available online to shoppers during 2020; 14% of private brand sales were done online; and private brands grew 73% through e-commerce during the year. Doug Baker, vice president, industry relations at FMI, told Store Brands that what surprised him most in the research — 61% of food retailers surveyed said e-commerce, including home delivery and click-and-collect Internet sales is considered “a major opportunity for private brands” and that percentage was even higher for companies already actively underway with private brand e-commerce programs. The report also found that more than half of the respondents said “they are boosting private brand strategies for e-commerce,” including these main tactics that were put in place last year: 8

Store Brands


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of food retailers surveyed said e-commerce, including home delivery and clickand-collect Internet sales is considered a major opportunity for private brands. Those findings in the report specifically came from consultancy FitForCommerce, which mystery shopped 25 food retailers’ e-commerce sites and identified 10 opportunities for food retailers to effectively target consumers with private brand offerings. The report also noted three-fourths of those surveyed found private brands met expectations or exceeded them over the past year when looking at online grocery but noted that private brands face a challenge in e-commerce in that most of the industry hasn’t reached a point of differentiating private brand KPIs between online and in-store to truly gauge how well private brands are performing online. The report found 81% of those surveyed said they do not measure private brand KPIs differently for online vs. in-store.

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10/27/21 9:24 PM

Sauer Brands Gets Into Salsa

Stop & Shop Cooks Up Clever LTO Pasta “Pasta, meet pasta” — that’s the fun and clever new tagline supporting Stop & Shop’s limited-edition own brand pasta product developed alongside the seven-year Boston Bruins’ right wing David Pastrnák who goes by the nickname “Pasta.” The line is used on in-store signage and other marketing materials. The professional hockey player has endeared himself to Boston Bruin fans through his lighthearted sense of humor and an apparent love for pasta, which he eats as a pre-game meal. The regional retailer with more than 400 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey connected with Pastrnák to produce an own brand, exclusive penne pasta with the hockey player’s likeness on a signature box. The product also is retailing for 88 cents in honor of his jersey number and a portion of proceeds will be going to support pediatric cancer research and care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. In addition, Pastrnák will work with Stop & Shop to donate pasta to children in need in his native Czech Republic. “Pasta is not only a pre-game favorite for David, but it’s also a fan-favorite for so many of our customers as an easy weeknight meal for their families,” said Gordon Reid, president of Stop & Shop. “We know our shoppers will enjoy making pasta recipes at home while cheering on David and the Boston Bruins this season, and we thank David for partnering with us to support the life changing work at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund." Pastrnák is a top scorer for the Boston Bruins and the co-winner of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for leading the NHL in goals during the 2020-2021 season. Only 25 years old, he is heading into his eighth NHL season with 200 goals and 427 points. Stop & Shop has a long-standing partnership with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. Recognized as the institute’s largest corporate donor, Stop & Shop has provided more than $73 million over the last thirty years. Stop & Shop has supported Dana-Farber’s Pediatric Brain Tumor Clinic and research program, which has led to improvements in pediatric cancer care that continues to impact the lives of children all over the world. 10

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Sauer Brands is acquiring a new asset to help expand its private brand capabilities. The company, which creates condiments, seasonings, and spices for private label and branded products, has acquired Mateo’s Gourmet Salsa, an independent company. The deal marks Sauer’s entry into the salsa business and is an expansion of their product portfolio. This is the second addon investment for Sauer and Falfurrias Capital Partners, who have owned Sauer since 2019, having acquired popcorn seasoning brand Kernel Season’s in 2020. Mateo’s was created in 2010 by Andrew Robbins, who decided to market the homemade salsa his father created. Mateo’s all-natural line of products is marketed across the country through such retailers as Costco, Walmart, Target, Publix and Kroger. Sauer will use the acquisition to expand into private label salsa offerings. “Private label is an important part of our business, which we are focused on developing through strategic partnerships,” Sauer Brands CEO Martin Kelly told Store Brands. “Once we have the opportunity to fully understand what has made Mateo’s successful, we will look at expanding the portfolio of products we offer to our private label partners.” Sauer's acquisition of Mateo’s is an example of Falfurrias’ "Industry First" investment approach which combines data, exhaustive research and expertise to identify attractive industries and partner with experienced advisors to build differentiated and sustainable companies, says the company. “We have a tremendous packaged foods platform in Sauer Brands, and from the early days of our investment, our world-class leadership team, led by Martin Kelly, identified salsa as the most attractive category for future expansion,” said Falfurrias partner Chip Johnson. “In Mateo’s, we’ve found the perfect addition to our portfolio — another high-growth, iconic brand that consumers adore.”

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Plant Based


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10/27/21 9:25 PM

Ardent Mills Buys Gluten-Free Milling Company

Free Assembly for Kids Last year, Walmart debuted its latest private label clothing line, Free Assembly, aimed at delivering “approachable designs, quality fabrics, modern silhouettes and fashion-forward details.” The apparel line elevated the retailer’s previous entries in store brand apparel, something confirmed when it tapped fashion designer Brandon Maxwell to be the creative director of the brand. To kick off October, the retailer is growing that collection by introducing Free Assembly Kids, which will feature an array of styles in childrens’ sizes. The new collection adds to Walmart’s exclusive brands such as Scoop, Sofia Jeans by Sofia Vergara, and ELOQUII Elements. “We designed Free Assembly Kids to seamlessly complement our adult collection with many of the above trends like athleisure, plaid and cropped silhouettes being explored in our latest drop for men and women as well,” said Deanah Baker, SVP of men’s, kids, and shoes at Walmart. “And, just like the adult line, Free Assembly Kids is made with a commitment to sustainability — several pieces in the fall collection include organic cotton or recycled polyester. Free Assembly Kids will now be a key part of our children’s apparel assortment with new collections released seasonally.” Walmart is a headquarters for school uniforms under its George and Wonder Nation brands, but Free Assembly looks to have more fun. The inaugural Free Assembly Kids collection, which includes nearly 50 different styles in sizes ranging from 5–18 and priced between $6–$36, offers foundational wardrobe staples with all colors, prints, fabrics and silhouettes designed to work together. 12

Store Brands


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Ardent Mills, a Denver-based flour milling and ingredient company, is set to acquire a new entity, acquiring all assets of Firebird Artisan Mills, a gluten-free, specialty grain milling company. Firebird Artisan Mills has a large portfolio of gluten-free, organic and non-GMO products as well as a dedicated certified gluten-free facility located in Harvey, N.D. The planned acquisition, set to close later this year, will allow Ardent Mills to expand its specialty ingredient solutions and create the latest products, services and innovations in gluten-free milling and blending. Customers will have advanced access to gluten-free flours, mixes, blends and specialty grain products. “Firebird Artisan Mills has been a collaborative and well-established partner of ours in the gluten-free and specialty ingredients space since the formation of Ardent Mills,” said Dan Dye, CEO of Ardent Mills. “They have proven again and again to go above and beyond for their customers. They also share similar values, and commitment to safety and innovation, which is why this expected acquisition makes so much sense. We’re looking forward to having the Firebird team join the Ardent Mills family." The acquisition by Ardent Mills comes after a string of additions in recent years, adding to the company’s portfolio. Ardent acquired Hinrichs Trading Company's operations in June 2021. Andean Naturals’ quinoa operations in February 2020, an organic grain elevator in Klamath Falls, Oregon in 2019, and additional capabilities in its Denver RiNo community mill to clean and pack specialty grains in May 2019. Ardent Mills’ operations and services are supported by more than 35 flour mills, a specialty bakery, a gluten-free facility, and five chickpea and pulse locations.

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DEC 14

2021 100% Virtual

Discover Private Brand Knowledge Research from two industry leaders bookend Discovery Day.

FMI - The Food Industry Association and FitForCommerce will open with results from its latest Power of Private Brands research on e-commerce, highlighting where private brands are winning and losing, and The Hartman Group will close with trends shaping the future of private brands.

Discover Products In between sessions, suppliers and solutions providers take the virtual stage to pitch new and best-selling products and services. Networking and Q&A available too.

Come pitch!




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10/28/21 3:00 PM


HEARD AT THE FORUM Standout quotes from the five sessions held virtually at the Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages Sept. 29.


By Zachary Russell

ive panels took a virtual stage Sept. 29 at The Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages, now available to stream on demand at Subjects covered at the event included composting, coffee, dairy, nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverage trends. The sessions were moderated by Dan Ochwat, executive editor, Store Brands and speakers included representatives from the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), Compost Manufacturing Alliance, Coffee Club, Boxed, TXB, Albertsons, Dairy Management Inc., Fair Trade USA, Casey’s, Walgreens, Rouses Market and The Giant Company. Here are some notable quotables from the conversations held that day:

ELIZABETH GUTHRIE, senior director of product management for own brands, Albertsons

ON DAIRY ALTERNATIVES... “Many of our customers are seeking alternatives to traditional dairy. The market is rapidly changing, and we’re working to evolve to meet those consumer needs. Store brands are leaders in this space, and you’ll continue to see us adjust to meet those needs and expectations.”


Store Brands


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DARLA REIG director of DSD, beer, wine and ethinc, The Giant Company

ON ALCOHOL... “As we were at the height of the pandemic, we saw an increase in consumption with customers buying more boxed wine or twin pack wine. Customers are celebrating any time they can and are enjoying the sparkling category. We’ve seen a lot of success in frozen, with frozen pops and wine slushies in our stores. Customers are willing to try any flavor of seltzer that we can put out there.” JULIE JOY, director of beer, wine and spirits, Rouses Market

“The seltzer craze has taken over the beer category, as well as canned cocktails or anything that’s fruity or sparkling.”

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DALE JOHNSON, senior director, divisional merchandise manager, consumables, Walgreens.

CLAUDIO GEMMITI, Chief innovation officer, Club Coffee

ON SUSTAINABLE COFFEE… “Sustainable packaging shouldn’t all be compostable. The paper-based bag is highly recyclable, and it keeps the freshness of the coffee. The big eyesore in coffee right now is that so much of the coffee comes in plastic bags that aren’t recyclable and won’t be any time soon.”


“Everything is recyclable if we can do it, our TXB brand K-Cups are compostable. Being a private label brand with 50 stores is quite an achievement. For us it’s a journey in converting all of these things over, and it’s tremendous how many things it touches in our store. The opportunities are endless to do a better job.”

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ON INNOVATION... SUSAN THOMAN, managing director, CMA

ON COMPOSTING... “We need the nutrient-rich coffee and tea feedstocks to make great compost. There’s a lot of contamination in compost streams currently, and non-compostable pods can cause this if composted. So these materials can be used to minimize contamination so that we don’t have to send these materials to the landfill.”

“The one thing we see in the beverage category compared to the others is that there’s still a strong pipeline of innovation. We’re starting to see a lot more beverages that are in the ‘better for you’ space, and we’re looking at ways we can innovate there.”

ERIN BUTLER, private brands manager, Casey’s

“A lot of our offerings that are the more unique flavors are doing very well. One of our top-sellers in 20 oz. is blue raspberry, which you can’t get from a Pepsi or a Coke. A supplier who is going to work with us on unique flavors is really important. It’s those more unique flavors that are best-sellers because there’s no branded equivalent.”

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LA DORIA DRIVES SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING La Doria, based in Campania, Italy, is a leading European producer of canned vegetables and tomatobased products at retail, the first producer of pasta sauces in private label and one of the main Italian producers of fruit juices and beverages. It also produces ready-made pasta sauces in jars that preserve the product’s quality but also develops sustainable and recyclable packaging for all of its Italian food products. The company said all of its retailer clients are requesting packaging that meets sustainable needs. Store Brands sat down with Diodato Ferraioli, head of export sales at La Doria S.p.A., to discuss trends in packaging.

Store Brands: What types of packages seem to be trending in the categories you produce? Diodato Ferraioli: In the food market, one of the main goals for the industry is the constant research of more sustainable packaging. The most used packaging in our product categories are cans, glass containers and paper carton bricks. Product packaging plays an important role in our industry as it protects food safety, and preserves it during transport and storage. All materials must be partially or totally recyclable, in order to reduce the use of those materials considered harmful in terms of sustainability. SB: What’s a recent package from the company that you’re proud of and why? DF: For over 50 years we have been committed to self-producing tinplate boxes and lids, so as to be able to produce totally recyclable packaging. The same labels of our products

are printed with water-based paint, to minimize the environmental impact of each single piece produced in our factories. Our commitment in this sense translates into concrete results and performances that we try to improve more and more. Furthermore, for several years, for products such as tomatoes and legumes, we have been committed to using polylaminate brik, following the market trend and helping to adopt increasingly sustainable measures. Interestingly, this kind of packaging is now particularly attractive for online deliveries since it is lighter and less likely to get damaged during transportation. In 2020, we already achieved our goal of increasing recycled materials use by 10%, in order to reduce local environmental and food chain impacts to benefit the entire community. La Doria also collaborated in 2020 with one of its main suppliers to use packaging made from renewable and plant-based raw materials, and also reduced the surface area of this packaging. This is a plant-based plastic derived from sugar cane. This project reduced CO2 by 14% and the use of plastics by 13%. SB: What have you seen from retailers in the types of packaging they’re looking for in regards to private label? DF:Our retailers are very focused to the issue of sustainability, a theme that is now the basis of all their requests and needs. Consequently, the company invests heavily in research and development so that it can keep up with the demands of retailers and market trends. With regard to packaging, research is aimed at the use of increasingly sustainable materials and solutions that can reduce waste, such as reducing the weight of glass containers, the use of FSC-certified paper, the reduction of the use of plastic in secondary packaging and the use of PVC free capsules. SB: How do you work with retailers for their private label needs with packaging? DF: We consider our retailers as real production partners and consequently we produce for them and with them. Their requests have always been considered the starting point of every production project, including the choice of packaging. In product innovation, we aim to meet the growing demand on the market for sustainable products with a reduced energy/ environmental impact and by exploring new materials and new application technologies. In the coming years, the company’s attention will be focused on making increasing use of packaging with a percentage of recycled materials. SB

LA DORIA S.p.A. Via Nazionale, 320 - 84012 Angri (SA) – Campania - Italy+39.081.5166111 commerciale.estero 16

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with their customers, especially in the grocery industry, where competition is becoming fiercer than ever.

Store brands are the secret weapon in the growing subscription model

THE OMNI-CHOICE SHOPPER The omni-choice shopper has arrived, and this new customer profile further demonstrates how retailers must differentiate themselves from their competitors. Subscription services appeal to the omni-choice shopper based on the personalization elements they provide. From the comfort of their own living room, consumers are able to find a subscription service that fits their needs and lifestyles and provides them with products they know and love. Unlike its grocer competitors, Albertsons has leveraged what they’ve learned from the omni-choice shopper and has been moving fast and aggressively to inspire its customers on the omni-choice journey. Through partnerships and external initiatives like FreshPass, Albertsons is sending a strong statement to the industry that they will innovate fearlessly to provide an optimal customer shopping experience. And according to Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. A subscription service like FreshPass is bound to deliver upon this expectation, as the intersection of private label, personalized messages and curated assortment options prove to a customer that their brands recognize and deliver upon their preferences and needs. For companies seeking innovation and relevancy in this changing industry, a new way of thinking is required. Through active and successful recruiting, stores like Albertsons are bringing in new leaders with strong experience outside of grocery retail to reimagine traditional approaches, hit refresh on the customer journey, lock in loyalty and keep customers coming back for more. SB

Patrick Spear, president and CEO of GMDC|Retail Tomorrow


n the past, retailers controlled how the customer shopped. However, in this brave new retail world — the script has flipped. The customer is now in the driver’s seat, and they aren’t exactly sharing their roadmap. In today’s “omni-choice” era of endless purchasing journeys to choose from, today’s customer has challenged the retailer to innovate and adapt to the fast-changing shopper expectations and demands. A new study from CouponFollow shows that during the pandemic, many U.S. consumers opted for subscriptionbased products, citing “dopamine delivery,” incentives, deals and perceived value as reasons behind the strong interest in subscription-based services. With the spike in omnichannel preferences, many retailers are taking note. In fact, the Subscription Trade Association (SUBTA) projects by 2023, as many as 75% of directto-consumer brands will have a subscription-based offering. Subscription and omnichannel popularity are on the rise, and it’s traversing across industries within the retail category, most recently in the grocery arena. STORE BRAND LOYALTY Subscription programs have demonstrated an increased propensity for shoppers to frequent stores and boost

loyalty. Fortunately, subscriptions and store brands are a natural fit — like a hand in a glove. In the case of Albertsons and its newly minted FreshPass, the grocer has become the largest traditional grocery retailer in the U.S. to launch a subscription service for unlimited free delivery as “part of an omnichannel ‘reintroduction’ to shoppers.” This launch is the latest development in Albertsons’ larger vision to deliver a personalized experience and secure loyalty among its customers. This summer, Albertsons’ loyalty programs have increased 17.5% year over year and encompass nearly 40% of transactions and 50% of sales. In the world of retail, connection is key. To further establish a personal connection with their customers, Albertsons is offering 5% off purchases of the company’s Own Brands O Organics and Open Nature Products for all FreshPass subscribers. Through their subscription platform and store brand discounts, Albertsons is enabling increased trust, increased household penetration of store brands and a rational way to expand store brand offerings. Store brands offer a unique opportunity to build loyalty, whether through the in-store or subscription relationship, and ought to be considered among retailers looking to build (and sustain) stronger connections

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Since it began eight years ago, Store Brands and Women Impacting Storebrand Excellence (WISE) have highlighted key women across the private brand industry, awarding leaders making a huge impact across many facets of the industry. In supply chain, marketing, finance and more, eight of the 2021 class of selections are moving store brands forward amid continued pandemic challenges. The ninth recipient, a Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizes

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Store Store Brands Brands

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October/November October/November 2021 2021

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the life and commitment of a woman who brought unmatched passion to her life and role in private brands, even as she battled a difficult illness. Her’s is a career and level of inspiration everyone in the private brands industry should aspire to reach. The nine awards include three specialty winners � Lifetime Achievement, Innovation and Sparkplug � and six Functional Expertise Award winners.

Meet the 2021 winners:

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lifetime achievement award Samantha Hein

senior category merchant, exclusive brands Whole Foods Market few months ago, Hein passed away from Cystic Fibrosis, which she had been challenged with most of her life, but never let it slow her passion and drive for Whole Foods Market and serving shoppers. She spent seven years on the exclusive brands team at Whole Foods and 17 years in total at the health-focused chain with more than 500 stores. Hein’s contribution to own brands included ideating and executing more than 90% of the retailer’s body care items. Two noteworthy developments include: the 365 Suncare line (without homosalate) and an upcoming 365 topical CBD launch. Both mark the first of their kind at Whole Foods and the natural grocery space. Hein played a significant role in the history of Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value brand, a more than $2 billion brand. During her time, she led the exclusive brands portfolio for body care and beauty at Whole Foods, including the 365 brand, Whole Foods Market and Azalea. Hein oversaw category strategy, assortment planning, promotional planning and supplier partnerships within exclusive brands. She was accountable for the financial performance of assigned categories in partnership with her global category merchants, and partnered with suppliers to develop and execute meaningful programs as well as meet quality standards. Heather Salzgeber, exclusive brands category merchant at Whole Foods Market and a longtime co-worker and friend of Hein’s, said most people that encountered Hein never knew that she had a health condition because she never let her lifelong


struggle with Cystic Fibrosis slow her down. In fact, it motivated her to do more and make the most of the time she had, both in her personal and professional life. “Over the 15 years that we worked together she became one of my best friends, and I would often suggest that she ‘take it easy.’ She would reply back, ‘life is too short not to go after what you want.’ She continues to inspire me and all of her work family at Whole Foods Market every day,” Salzgeber told Store Brands. In Hein’s career in store brands, she also notably created an industry-leading face mask line that transformed the category at Whole Foods, created an aromatherapy program, a hair care line, a bath and body line, oral care, and so much more. Hein has been a recipient of six PLMA awards, and has won several team member awards internally at Whole Foods for her leadership and excellence. “We miss her deeply, but being able to honor her in this way allows us to share some of her proudest accomplishments and the special person that Sam was with the industry,” Salzgeber added. “Thank you for helping to keep her memory alive.”

— Heather Salzgeber, exclusive brands category merchant, Whole Foods Market

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innovation award Heather Corkery

senior director, store brands CVS Health


or more than 20 years, Corkery has been innovating at CVS Health, particularly in store brands, a department that may have seen its most innovative year yet at the company. From May 2020 to April 2021, Corkery oversaw a team that launched the Live Better by CVS Health line of better-for-you and better-for-the-environment products, as well as the men’s store brand Goodline Grooming Co. On the way are two more private brands: One + Other and CVS Beauty Brand. Corkery is powering store brand innovation at CVS Health and doing it with a partnering and conversational style, her colleagues described. Over her two decades with CVS, Corkery helped create a team dedicated to store brands, now 60-people deep, and store brands now make up 23% of all products sold at CVS stores. Her fingerprints can be seen on early launches such as Glam Squad and ones like Live Better, which filled a whitespace of exclusive, transparent wellness products in sun care, baby care, herbal supplements and more. The line brings convenient and affordable access to popular and emerging ingredients such as ashwagandha, turmeric, elderberry and valerian root and includes options that are USDA-certified organic, non-GMO project verified, gluten-free, cruelty-free or vegan. Similarly, with Goodline Grooming Co.,, Corkery innovated to develop a store brand that fills the whitespace opportunity of men’s grooming. Her team collaborated weekly with a diverse

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panel of 90 men to build out a line that was high quality, intuitive, uncomplicated and approachable. “CVS has always been a place that has brought many exciting new challenges, year after year,” Corkery told Store Brands. “I believe that every role that I have had over the years has prepared me for this position in store brands; leading a team of people in developing our brand portfolio. This role is the perfect marriage of art and science — researching, ideating, developing and measuring how our brands resonate at the shelf,” she said. “I gain the most from the people around me,” Corkery added. “This may sound cliché, but anyone who has worked with me will tell you that I derive the most satisfaction and pride in collaborating with my team, my peers and the broader enterprise.”

— Heather Corkery

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sparkplug Alison Gregas

private brands manager Weis Markets t Weis Markets shy of two years, Gregas transitioned into her role as private brands manager at the start of the pandemic and immediately made an impact by coordinating product availability from current suppliers and sourcing new ones, all in an effort to maintain the Weis Markets private brand presence on shelves in the face of increasing demand. A colleague of Gregas said she handled that task while taking on more responsibility for the entire private brands team, a great example of an industry sparkplug.

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Weis Markets is a mid-Atlantic food chain in Sunbury, Pa., operating 196 stores with more than 23,000 employees in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia and Delaware. As the private brands manager, Gregas oversees 6,500 private brand items across the entire store, including new item development, packaging design, and managing those key supplier relationships — ones she’s quick to shout out. “What I love most about my role at Weis is the people. Our Weis team works together to achieve our goals while supporting each other and having fun along the way. We also have great vendor partners that make day-to-day communication and exploring new initiatives more enjoyable,” she told Store Brands. “I feel fortunate to be able to collaborate with such a great group of people, both internal and external. Working as a team is what ultimately leads to success for all of us.” In those working relationships, Gregas makes a difference by using her influence when meeting with the merchandising team to spot trends in the industry and make suggestions on new item development product placement. She also works on pricing to ensure that the Weis private brand team goals are met or exceeded. In her short time with the company, Gregas has adapted quickly into more of a leadership role and has become a trusted resource to the merchandising team during recent category reviews. Gregas transitioned to her role of private brands manager after beginning as a sourcing specialist, all during a difficult time during the pandemic. The chain is not letting up when it comes to private brand innovation, either. “Our team has made it a priority to focus on innovation and new item development,” she said. “We have been able to do so while working through the many challenges that the industry has faced over the last year. We have remained committed to the continued growth of our brands and that is something I am extremely proud of.”

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Congratulates Congratulates ng t a e

Shanaz Ahmed Top Women in Store Brands R&D/Quality Assurance Award For achieving exceptional success and bringing a passion for Albertsons Companies’ Own Brands leading Regulatory Strategic initiatives company-wide.

Shanaz Ahmed

Regulatory Affairs Manager

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operations Pam Ofri

director of product development and operations, own brands Wakefern Food


n the last year, Ofri’s had a hand in more than 1,100 new and converted own brand SKUs to hit the market, touching 11 departments and within three powerful brands: Paperbird, Bowl & Basket and Wholesome Pantry. She oversees a team of more than 30 associates in private brand development, category management and operations, and steered them all safely. Battling issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ofri led her team through 33 workshops with detailed category analysis and input on how to navigate challenges the safest way possible. The team manages the full goto-market process for own brands at Wakefern, and it’s no surprise to hear how much her team means to her and how much she cares for the consumer. “I am extremely fortunate to have a

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group of passionate, hard working and consumer-centric individuals who make my job possible. Without them, this award would not be possible,” she told Store Brands. “This past year and a half has been a challenge for most people, whether those difficulties revolved around day care, job stability, illness, it’s made us all stronger as a people. During this pandemic, Wakefern’s procurement team, Own Brand included, spearheaded a COVID Resurgence project back in the summer of 2020, in an effort to keep products on-shelf, and the families of our consumers fed and healthy.” Unique to Wakefern, in her operational role, Ofri also established a platform called Wakefern Engage that helped keep new and prospective store brand suppliers involved in Wakefern’s initiatives, including compliance scorecards and ways to meet new suppliers. She leveraged her expertise in project management to lead the creation of a database to track all Wakefern Own Brand items at each stage of the pipeline. Ofri loves developing own brands and the power that product brings to the shelf. “There is something amazing about the ability to create a private label product, to then see it on shelves, and be able to feed it to your family and friends. The fact that we sample each and every item is not only a perk — and one of the most unifying activities for my team — but an extreme honor that I have as well,” she said. “We have the opportunity to take the voice of the customer, and in these sensory cases represent the customer ourselves, to tweak each and every recipe to ensure the highest quality and best taste of our products.”

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supply chain/ procurement Erin Shirkey

director of supply chain operations Great Lakes Cheese


eeping store shelves stocked with cheese during COVID-19 was not an easy task, and Shirkey told Store Brands that she’s most proud of working with the internal cross-functional teams at Great Lakes Cheese to work through the daily challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Each day presented a new challenge requiring us to navigate differently, redefine process, establish

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quick alternatives, and be nimble, creative and resilient,” she said. “We did all this through hard work, integrity and a passion to keep our customers’ shelves stocked with cheese.” Great Lakes Cheese is a premier manufacturer and packager of natural and processed bulk, shredded and sliced cheeses for foodservice and private brand programs. The company has eight state-of-the-art facilities across the United States, with plans to add a ninth in the fall of next year. For Shirkey’s part, she leads a supply chain team of 52 people, overseeing more than a billion pounds of cheese a year.

EACH DAY PRESENTED A NEW CHALLENGE REQUIRING US TO NAVIGATE DIFFERENTLY, REDEFINE PROCESS, ESTABLISH QUICK ALTERNATIVES, AND BE NIMBLE, CREATIVE AND RESILIENT. WE DID ALL THIS THROUGH HARD WORK, INTEGRITY AND A PASSION TO KEEP OUR CUSTOMERS’ SHELVES STOCKED WITH CHEESE. — Erin Shirkey Shirkey has played a major role building out the supply chain at Great Lakes Cheese. During the pandemic, she worked very closely with customers to keep the American food supply chain stable. Her efforts have also been recognized by Great Lakes Cheese. Out of 3,500 individuals at the company, Shirkey earned the Founders Award in 2021, an honor that reflects the legacy of founder Hans Epprecht’s hard work. Epprecht’s motto: “Hard work, honesty, integrity. That sums it all up.” Epprecht built the company on those values and Shirkey earned the award for efforts that reflect those values. A colleague said she is beloved by her team, peers and is a daily role model for the values the company strives to reach.


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corporate services Katherine Renn

vice president, commercial finance Refresco


n her role, Renn has successfully managed nearly 80 associates across five teams during what is arguably one of the most unique and difficult periods of retail’s long history. Renn leads the company’s commercial finance, print production, commercialization, sales analytics and accounts receivable. “It’s not an exaggeration to say the last 18 months, between a pandemic and supply chain disruptions, have been some of the most tumultuous I’ve experienced,” she told Store Brands. During the last year, not only did Renn find ways to proactively and positively engage a team that went from 100% in-office, to remote, to a hybrid model, she drove impactful initiatives like reducing Refresco’s concept-to-shelf timeline from 166 days to 121, and helped guide the finance team through massive commodity challenges, which

ultimately led to successful negotiations on price adjustments for over two dozen customers, and improved the company’s cash flow by applying more focus to AR to ensure Refresco received timely and accurate payment.

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At Refresco, the world’s largest independent bottler of beverages, Renn also negotiated a more equitable contract with its third-party analytics company, integrating the company’s print production group, and participated in pricing discussions with its largest store brands customer. She’s a bonafide leader touching many important aspects of Refresco’s work — and she loves it. “My role at Refresco is continually changing, which keeps things exciting,” she told Store Brands. “I’ve benefited from strong leaders that have taken a genuine interest in my professional development. As a result, I’ve been able to take risks that have allowed me to acquire new skills


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and develop in broad areas outside of a traditional finance background.” Renn said in late 2019, the company finished a critical phase in a project called “Re-wire to Win,” which was focused on shortening commercialization project times. “Because Refresco’s commercialization process starts with an idea and ends at the first manufacturing run, almost every group in our organization is impacted. We made a commitment to reduce project time by at least 35%. As Q1 2020 was coming to an end, we realized we had to act quickly to keep our project on track,” she said. “Our team’s agility was on display,” she added. “It would have been easy to use the pandemic as an excuse to underdeliver or delay our commitments, but our team isn’t built that way. By the end of 2020, we had reduced project life cycle time by over 50%, and in 2021, we’ve achieved improvements approaching 63%.”

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private label sales team with guidance, analytics and vision for the company’s growth platform in the United States. Conwell’s been in sales her whole time at Sofidel, also bringing experience with time at Clearwater Paper, Irving Consumer Products and Kraft Heinz. But her current role as senior director of sales at Sofidel is her “dream job,” she told Store Brands, “developing the paper business for a company who is a newcomer to the U.S. and has invested heavily in new greenfield paper making and converting sites.” She also discussed the importance of serving the paper industry during the pandemic, when tissue paper was scarce. “Paper is an essential item, and during the past 18 months with the pandemic, it has been extremely rewarding and challenging to

Mary Conwell

senior director of sales Sofidel America ince Conwell has been part of Sofidel, the fifth largest tissue producer in the world, the company has seen its private label business grow double digits with a CAGR of 50% a year since she joined the team nearly four years ago. That’s impact. In her role, she supports the

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Shanaz Ahmed help get our paper into the hands of consumers,” she said. “In this role, what I love the most is collaborating with our retail partners on their store brands programs and working with our internal Sofidel team to execute and deliver results. My role also allows me to provide coaching and mentoring to my peers in sales and share my knowledge and experience with over 35 years selling store brands.” Conwell’s natural sales ability and leadership skills have molded her into a “coaching” manager that the company’s junior managers aspire to reach, a colleague at Sofidel described. Conwell’s focused efforts have enabled the company’s partners in retail to grow private brand shares to new heights and bring new innovation to the category. The company has been awarded several new customer labels over the past year, she said, successfully launching the new business segments, and they’ve expanded their offerings on new and innovative items with current partners.

regulatory affairs manager Albertsons

marketing and merchandising Emily Taylor

executive vice president, chief merchandising officer Dollar General

liding into the role of chief merchant in September of last year, Taylor has been with Dollar General since 1998, taking on roles of increasing responsibility across the organization over her time. In 2019, in fact, she served as SVP of channel innovation, leading a charge behind DG’s newest concept store pOpshelf, and in 2014 launched the company’s non-consumables initiative NCI, which brought added seasonal, apparel, home, stationery, party and toys to Dollar General stores. “NCI was such a hit, we explored developing a

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orking on the regulatory affairs team for Albertsons Own Brands since 2018, Ahmed oversees multiple areas across the organization and is considered the resident expert on driving the retailer’s USDA-mandated Bioengineered Labeling work across all Albertsons products. To Ahmed, it’s also the work she’s most proud of, telling Store Brands, “Albertsons Companies is on track to successfully implement all aspects of the regulation, and we’ll be one of the first in the industry with a 24/7 fully automated BE customer response line.” Ahmed identified products for Bioengineered Labeling and worked through an internal database to capture accurate information, compiling a master sheet of products containing Bioengineered ingredients, developing work streams and a critical path to compliance. It’s that kind of passion that Ahmed brings to the critical role of regulatory affairs, working behind the scenes to ensure products are safe, accurate with allergens and safety information, and true to what the consumer is expecting from an Albertsons private brand product. In her role, she manages daily regulatory activities including identification, interpretation, and implementation of all applicable federal,

state and local regulations. These include product standards of identity, package label requirements, claims identification and validation to comply with regulatory requirements, and she reviews regulatory activities conducted by contract manufacturers. Ahmed runs point for the Menu and Scale Labeling work, including Albertsons In-Store Process Optimization project, ensures regulatory compliance, and works to avoid private brand product recalls that can result from noncompliance to product and packaging regulations. The Albertsons In-Store Process Optimization project is an effort to make product compliance in stores more efficient, accurately rolling up ingredients to finished products and paving the way to clean up approximately 38,000 constituents in less time. The “Roll Up Deployment” functions for the project include an ingredient statement, ingredient maintenance and formula maintenance, resulting in the average approval timeline for finished products to go from six weeks to five days including regulatory approval. “I am fortunate to work for an innovative food company,” she said. “But if I had to say what I love the most, it’s my team. Albertsons has a diverse and inclusive culture that brings together a great mix of talents and perspectives.”

retail concept that would focus on those NCI learnings, successes and insights while offering a differentiated retail concept, and thus, pOpshelf was created and launched in 2020,” Taylor told Store Brands.. “We’re addressing an unmet need in the market — value in the fun, discretionary categories,” she said about the program. “We are pleased with the initial results and feedback, so much so that we plan to increase from 30 stores by fiscal year end to 50. We celebrate pOpshelf’s first anniversary this October, and we can’t wait to see what the future brings.” As EVP and CMO, Taylor has been continuing Dollar General’s innovation around store brands, launching, reimagining and rebranding top own brands at the chain including Drive MXD, an automotive maintenance and detail brand, Pro Essentials in hardware, Shavely’s in razors, 3-2-1 Party, and the clean-label premium hair care line Root to End. “I love the ability to deliver real impact by giving communities access to affordable, quality products and offerings,” Taylor said. “This wouldn’t be possible without my passionate, dynamic team at DG that’s laser-focused on bringing an exceptional shopping experience to our customers. We listen to our customers every day, and we continue to innovate to help them save time and money while shopping at our stores.” Taylor added that Dollar General is primarily focused on its brickand-mortar locations. The retailer operates 17,426 stores in 46 states. However, the company has implemented digital solutions into its customer’s journey to enhance the DG shopping experience, she said. “It’s always exciting to continue to activate around ideas that will only deliver more of what our customer wants,” she said.

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he basics of marketing tell us that attaching a prominent or reputable face or name to a product increases the likelihood of catching someone’s attention, and eventually sales of a given product. The examples of this with well-known celebrities and name-brand companies are endless. In the private brand space, it’s more common than you might think. Just like branded products, store brands thrive when assisted by a popular influencer or social personality. According to a study released in June by Inmar Intelligence, 84% of respondents said they had made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation, with 61% of consumers saying they listen to influencers because they trust their product/category expertise. “Retailers should utilize influencers to be part of conversations that are already happening in the social space,” said Leah Logan, VP of media products at Inmar. “Retailers should be using tools like social listening to understand how they add value to conversations happening and then utilize authentic, vetted influencers to use their own voices to talk about what’s important to the retailer. They need to find influencers who actually relate to their shoppers and can be part of the conversation to relay their message.” Katie Burkhardt, director of brand strategy at Daymon agrees. “A collaboration should, first and foremost, reflect the preferences of the retailer’s current consumer base,” Burkhardt said. “The bonus of working with an influencer is that they come with a large, devoted fan base. Designer and celebrity col32

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laborations also help give a private label credibility. The goal is to create excitement and newness in a retail environment where many products are alike.” In addition to its name brand products, retail giant Amazon has multiple private label brands that perform well. Amazon Essentials, Nature’s Wonder, Mama Bear, Amazing Baby and Amazon Elements are just a few of those. Amazon benefits from influencers who post its private label products, even without a formal advertising sponsorship. In fact, many private brands use this approach. These influencers tag Amazon products and use the “Like to Know” platform for monetization. The website enables users to shop directly for the products seen used by influencers, in categories ranging from baby products to fitness to much more. While the influencers can be used to get followers interested in Amazon’s store brands without official sponsorship, some brands, such as Amazon Fresh, often partner with influencers officially. Julianna Astrid, Daniel Nguyen, and family influencer Sheila, ‘@OliviaSkyeandCo’ on Instagram, are all part of the recently launched Amazon Fresh influencer campaign. The latter has several sponsors, one of which being Amazon Fresh. Professional photos are taken of her and her family with products casually in the frame, and then are posted with a long caption including “#ad” that talks about the products. Walmart, like Amazon, is another example of a major retailer that often uses niche influencers to promote its private brands and services. Walmart’s Ozark Trail brand is pro-

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moted in camping and outdoor-themed TikToks, which feature traveling TikTokers “TheLoversPassport” — a boyfriend and girlfriend couple who use TikTok to document their travel adventures. Walmart has used influencers of all levels of fame to promote its store brand products, though the use of celebrities is more common with the promotion of “exclusive” items. Actress Drew Barrymore released a cookware brand, Beautiful by Drew Barrymore, exclusively at Walmart after previously working with Walmart on the launch of her clean beauty brand, Flower cosmetics. Walmart has also been known to use celebrities and influencers for its new efforts in live-streaming. Earlier this year, the retailer launched its Cookshop live-streaming program, which featured shoppable cooking videos hosted by famous figures. Hosts have included Patti LaBelle, celeb chef Jaime Oliver, actor Neil Patrick Harris and NBA superstar LeBron James. These influencer promotions seem to be working for Walmart, primarily with its private brands. As of early last year, Walmart’s Great Value brand was earning about $28 billion annually. Similar to Amazon’s model of unpaid promotion by

of consumers surveyed made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation. — INMAR INTELLIGENCE

influencers, many companies have found it profitable to gain marketing just by developing a core fanbase. Chains like Trader Joe’s, Costco and Aldi have all developed strong loyalty particularly among millennials, which is then used in a way of free marketing on social media. Private label products are especially popular with these fanbases for being cheaper food alternatives with unique

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of consumers surveyed trust the influencer’s category expertise. — INMAR INTELLIGENCE 34

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flavors. Stay-at-home mom Diane Youngpeter runs a blog called “ALDI Nerd,” and manages a Facebook fan group with nearly half a million members sharing their love for the discount chain. She is not paid by Aldi, and is instead a passionate fan, whose interest has led to added awareness for the grocery chain. Trader Joe’s is arguably the best example of fandom being used to spur promotion for the chain online. The store’s unique and ever-changing selection of private label items has led to a large online following, including regular people running Trader Joe’s “fan accounts” on Instagram, where new products are highlighted and reviewed. Instagram user @ traderjoesobsessed is a prime example, as the account has over half a million followers. “As long as consumers’ use of social media platforms continues to grow, influencer marketing will be a key component of private brands’ digital marketing strategies,” said Burkhardt of Daymon. “As private brands become more focused in assortment and scope, there is even opportunity to tap into micro-influencers, influencers who specialize in certain niches, to reach new, more specific target markets.” While branded products may have more notable and frequent endorsements that appear in advertisements, there is a rich market for influencer promotion in the private label space, with room to grow as store brands gain popularity.

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he desire for plant-based and vegan items continues to grow. The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and The Good Food Institute (GFI) reported U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods increased 27% in 2020, making it a $7 billion market. The two organizations said plant-based food sales grew by more than 25% in every U.S. census region and that 57% of households now purchase plant-based foods, up from 53% in 2019. More recently, Tastewise, an AI-powered food intelligence service, released an alternative plant-based protein report for Q3 of 2021. The study showed that the plant-based meat market accounts for just 1.4% of the total retail meat market, but is worth $1.4 billion in the U.S., increasing by more than $430 million in sales from 2019 to 2020. Consumers have been drawn to plant-based meats, such as Kroger’s pioneering Simple Truth Plant Based line, for sustainability and health reasons. In fact, in 2020, Kroger launched 53 new plant-based items to add to its portfolio and said 1.4 million households bought a plant-based Simple Truth product.

“The way we order, cook, and eat is already transforming in the face of a global pandemic, climate change, new technologies, and increased interest in health,” said Alon Chen, CEO at Tastewise, Chicago. “Today’s consumers require food and beverage that responds to their needs and provides solutions to their problems — from the personal to the planetary. Responding to the devastating advance in climate change, many companies are working to reduce the significant climate footprint of the animalfarmed meat industry by innovating ways to move away from animal meat. This increase in resources devoted to plant-based meat products, combined with consumer demands for real, versatile solutions, results in a timely shift in the way we consume food.” So far, private brands have had success with launches of plant-based meat alternative mainstays. Greenwise, Publix’s organic private label, introduced pea-based chickenless tenders in August, joining meatless burger patties of the same material that came out earlier in the year. Pea-based options appeal to consumers who want meat alternatives that are also soy and gluten-free. In May, one of the most profitable store brands, Target’s

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PLANT-BASED REPORT Good & Gather added over 30 plant-based items to the collection, signaling a bright future for the category within Target. The retailer added more than just meat to the collection, adding meatless options like buffalo style cauliflower wings, Good & Gather non-dairy milk and creamer alternatives, dips and spreads. “Guest demand for plant-based offerings is incredibly high and continues to grow,” said Rick Gomez, EVP and chief food and beverage officer at Target, at the time of the release. “By adding Good & Gather Plant Based to our curated assortment of plant-based offerings, we’re giving guests more of what they want and making it easy for them to discover the joy of food every day.” The report from Tastewise shows which meats American consumers have most replaced with plant-based alternatives, also showing which vegan meat options are rising in popularity. Plant-based meat items on the upswing could pave the way for innovations within store brand portfolios. Sausage and chicken are currently the two most popular plant-based meat options, with sausage alone making up 34% of all meat alternative consumption, according to the Tastewise study. Items that are on the rise as potential meat alternatives include lamb (+212% from last year), salami (+159%), charcuterie (+148%) and jerky (+85%). Of branded products specifically, beef/roast items, deli meats, and jerky are the least-tapped items, with chicken and patty options leading the way.


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tunity to grow the category of dairy as a whole. Elizabeth Guthrie, senior director of product management for own brands at Albertsons, spoke about plant-based dairy alternatives at the recent Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages, and how private labels are adapting to the new trends. “Non-dairy alternatives aren’t only keeping customers in the dairy aisle, but they’re also bringing a new influx of new customers into the [dairy] category,” said Guthrie. “The innovation is really revitalizing the section. The explosion of plant-based alternatives are helping to appeal to such a broad range of customers to meet all the needs that they have. Store brands are leaders and innovators in this space, you’ll continue to see own brands adjust to meet changing consumer needs through different sizes, flavors and nutritional call-outs.” According to the PBFA and GFI study, plant-based milk — the largest plant-based category — has reached $2.5 billion and accounts for 35% of the total plant-based food market. Even as the most developed category, plant-based milk grew 20% in dollar sales, up from 5% in 2019. Jason Heiselman, director of culinary at Hungryroot, the first AI-powered curated grocer, noted four growing trends in plant-based foods: experimentation, fermentation, rices and plant-based sweets. Rather than opting for a traditional beef cut when grilling steaks, people are looking to meatier vegetables that prepare well using similar methods such as mushrooms or cauliflower, or that provide good bases for plant-based inventions,” said Heiselman. “Whether people are buying fermented products such as kombucha or kimchi, or try-

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U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods increased

in 2020 ing basic fermentation at home, an awareness of its health benefits and the variety of options available has increased interest in fermentation. Rice is also a fantastic base ingredient if you are creating plant-based food combinations at home. Plant-based ingredients like black beans and chickpeas are growing as base ingredients for sweets, replacing less nutrient-rich staples.” Heiselman credits the pandemic for the shift in the trends toward plant-based foods and the newfound curiosity of consumers to try new ingredients.

“While there has already been a broadening awareness of what eating healthy really looks like, a key driver behind a lot of these trends is more time at home,” said Heiselman. “The pandemic kept us at home, and even as we emerge into a new normal, we are still home more than we were pre-pandemic. We’re juggling child care and lunch prep — for our children and for us. This has brought renewed interest in and passion for what we eat and how we make it. It has influenced how and what we cook, and what we look for when shopping.” 13. Publication Title

Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation (Requester Publications Only)


1. Publication Title


2. Publication Number

Store Brands

5. Number of Issues Published Annually


8x/year EnsembleIQ 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631

(Not printer) (Street, city, county, state, and ZIP+4)

8. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher

(Name and complete mailing address)


(Name and complete mailing address)





0 0 0 12,201

0 0 0 6,439





0 182 7,222 19,423 0 19,423 62.8%

0 160 6,371 12,810 0 12,810 50.3%

(Net press run)




quests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions,

Legitimate Paid

employer requests, advertiser's proof copies, and exchange copies.)

Paid and/Or

(2) In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541


(Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing and Internet re-


quests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions,

(By Mail

employer requests, advertiser's proof copies, and exchange copies.)


(3) Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter


Sales, and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside USPS

the Mail)

(4) Requested Copies Distributed By Other Mail Classes Through the USPS


Total Paid and/or Requested Distribution

(e.g. First-Class Mail)

9. Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor Publisher

Lina Trunina

Published Nearest to Filing Date

(Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing and Internet re-

$100.00 Contact Person

No. Copies of Single Issue

During Preceding 12 Months

(1) Outside-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541.

6. Annual Subscription Price

(Not printer)

EnsembleIQ 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631

Total Number of Copies


(Do not leave blank)

[Sum of 15b. (1), (2), (3), and (4)] (1) Outside County Nonrequested Copies as stated on PS Form 3541 (include

John Schrei EnsembleIQ 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631

Sample Copies, Requests Over 3 years old, Requests induced by a

Dan Ochwat 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631


Premium Sales and Requests including Association Requests, Names

Nonrequested Distribution

obtained from Business Directories, Lists, and other sources) (2) In-County Nonrequested Copies as stated on PS Form 3541 (include

(By Mail and

Sample Copies, Requests Over 3 years old, Requests induced by a


Premium Sales and Requests including Association Requests, Names obtained from Business Directories, Lists, and other sources)

the Mail)

(3) Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by Other Classes of Mail (e.g. First-Class Mail, Nonrequester Copies mailed in excess of 10%

10. Owner (Do not leave blank. If the publication is owned by a corporation, give the name and address of the corporation immediately followed by the names and addresses of all stockholders owning or holding 1 percent or more of the total amount of stock. If not owned by a corporation, give the names and addresses of the individual owners. If owned by a partnership or other unincorporated firm, give its name and address as well as those of each individual owner. If the publication is published by a nonprofit organization, give its name and address.)


Total Nonrequested Distribution


Total Distribution

Full Name


Copies not Distributed

Managing Editor (Name and complete mailing address)

Limit mailed at Standard Mail or Package Services Rates)


(4) Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail (Include Pickup Stands, Trade Shows, Showrooms and Other Sources)


Complete Mailing Address

8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631

(Sum of 15d (1), (2), (3), and (4)) (Sum of 15c. And 15e.) (See Instructions to Publishers #4 (page #3))


Total (Sum of 15f. And 15g.)


Percent Paid and/or Requested (15c. Divided by 15f. times 100)

PS Form 3526-R, July 2014 (Page 2 of 4)

11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages or Other Securities. If none, check box --------> None X Full Name



Average No. Copies Each Issue

Extent and Nature of Circulation

3. Filing Date


4. Issue Frequency

7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication

14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below

Store Brands

United States Postal Service

Complete Mailing Address

8550 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60631


Electronic Copy Circulation


Requested and Paid Electronic Copies


Total Requested and Paid Print Copies (Line 15c) + Requested/Paid


Total Requested Copy Distribution (Line 15f) + Requested/Paid

Average No. Copies Each Issue

No. Copies of Single Issue

During Preceding 12 Months

Published Nearest to Filing Date

Electronic Copies (line 16a) Electronic Copies (line 16a) d.

Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c X 100) x

1,403 7,842 14,213 55.2%

1,892 14,093 21,315 66.1%

I certify that 50% of all my distributed copies (electronic and print) are legitmate requests or paid copies.

17. Publication of Statement of Ownership


Publication of the Statement of Ownership for a Requester Publication is required and will be printed in the issue of this publication. 12. Tax Status (For completion by nonprofit organizations authorized to mail at nonprofit rate) (Check one) The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes: x Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months o Has Changed During the Preceding 12 Months (Publisher must submit explanation of change with this statement) PS Form 3526, July 2014(Page 1 of 3 (Instructions Page 3)) PSN 7530-01-000-9931

18. Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner



PRIVACY NOTICE: See our privacy policy on

I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties). PS Form 3526-R, July 2014 (Page 3 of 4)

035-036_SBR_PlantBased_1121_v3.indd 37

October/November 2021

Store Brands


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Seasonal Treats Private brands tend to miss the Halloween “Trick or Treat” bag, as kids run house to house with open buckets and pillowcases calling for Hersheys, Skittles and Reese’s. However, Target this year did put its popular Favorite Day Peanut Butter Monster trail mix into fun sizes suitable for Halloween that could get store brands into the Halloween fun. And even if national brands own the pillowcase, retailers still bring plenty of fun and innovation to entertaining and enjoying the fall holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. Here are some fall finds from Albertsons, Aldi and Target:

In its Aldi Finds section in a Chicago store, Aldi had cut cases of its exclusive-Aldi brand Benton’s pumpkin face creme cookies and Clancy’s Milk Chocolate Toffee Pretzels.

Teaming with mom influencer Two Little Taylors, Target showcased its Hide and Eek Halloween gingerbread house.

A Vons in Santa Ana, Calif., had the Albertsons Signature Select seasonal ice cream on display with flavors like Caramel Swirl Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie. 38

Store Brands

October/November 2021

038_SBR_Dispatches_1121_v2.indd 38

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